By Neil Kleid
Evil wears many faces—and no man or beast embodies this statement more than Marten Broadcloak, Gilead's downfall.
Emissary to the rebel John Farson, servant of the demonic Crimson King and wizard/betrayer to the gunslingers Steven and Roland Deschain, Marten dons masks and personas to suit his King's needs and his own terrible, world-breaking ends. Marten has been Flagg and Fannin; Walkin' Dude and Ageless Stranger; though he most commonly goes by either a variation of his given name, Walter, or a name with the sinister initial "R.F." Of course the man's name does not matter, do ya ken, ince it's his actions that make mischief. Be sure, Constant Reader, that all of those actions are dark, destructive and deadly for any that cross his path.
Marten's betrayal and plot against the family Deschain unfolds in the fourth issue of DARK TOWER: TREACHERY, hitting stores December 24. To warn any who may not yet realize the danger, Marvel.com clears away the facade, offering a view at the lies and crimes beneath Marten's terrible, knowing smile. Here then, we present the other great crimes of Marten Broadcloak, also known as Flagg, also known as Walter, forever known as the Man in Black.
ENDING ROLAND'S CHILDHOOD:
Acting on orders from the Crimson King, Marten seduces Gabrielle Deschain—Roland's mother—and uses the affair to taunt Roland into taking his trial of manhood years too early. The King hoped that Roland would fail, forcing him into exile and off the board. Marten's actions pushed the boy out the door and down a long road of pain, death, betrayal and heartbreak that would consume his life entire.
ATTACK INSIDE THE GRAPEFRUIT:
During the events of DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME, Marten takes the form of an enormous raven and confronts Roland's trapped soul. Taunting and torturing the boy, Marten carries Roland to the court of the Crimson King who offers the gunslinger a terrible choice: join them in destroying the Dark Tower—or be destroyed!
REGICIDE IN A DISTANT LAND:
Sometime during the events of Gilead's downfall on a parallel world much like Mid-World, Marten successfully uses poison to kill Roland, King of Delain, and frame his son Peter, next in line for the throne. With Roland dead, Peter imprisoned and Peter's easily controlled brother Thomas installed as King, Marten—once again going by the name Flagg—rules Delain, plunging it into an age of death and darkness.
THE SECOND SEEING STONE:
Following the fall of Gilead, early in Roland's hunt for the man in black and quest for the road to the Dark Tower, his path leads him to a way station where he encounters a boy named Jake. After their passing, Marten—here traveling as Walter—doubles back to meet the way station's next visitor, a priest named Callahan, and gives him a malevolent seeing stone named "Black Thirteen." This stone—sister to the Grapefruit which possesses Roland in the pages of TREACHERY—was intended to exterminate Roland and his ka-tet later in their journey and, like both it's kin and master, proved to be a foul and terrible threat.
MURDER AT JERICHO HILL:
During the climactic battle between Gilead's men and the forces of John Farson, Marten assumes another identity and brutally murders—well, that would be telling. We'll reach that tale, Constant Reader, soon enough (or as they say in Gilead, "there'll be water if god wills it").
DARK TOWER: TREACHERY #4 arrives in stores this Wednesday, December 24.
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